Development of reuse plan continues in Weirton

PROGRESS — Marvin Six, assistant director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, discusses the progress of developing the Weirton Area Reuse Plan — or W.A.R.P. — with members of Weirton Council during an informational workshop held Wednesday. -- Craig Howell

WEIRTON — Efforts to plan for the future of approximately 1,100 acres of former industrial property in the city continue.

As part of an informational workshop held Wednesday, members of Weirton Council received an update on the development of the Weirton Area Reuse Plan — also known as W.A.R.P. — from Marvin Six, assistant director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle.

“We’re focusing on the excess Weirton Steel property,” Six explained. “We’re probably about 70 percent to 80 percent into the project.”

The W.A.R.P. is a cooperative project, with involvement from the BDC, the city’s Planning and Development Department and the Frontier Group of Cos., which purchased the property from ArcelorMittal Steel earlier this year.

According to Six, a full report should be completed in February, focusing on potential development opportunities with the property, details on the land and the available infrastructure, as well as what will be needed to develop it for future opportunities.

“It will be flexible,” Six said. “It won’t be set in stone.”

The property as part of the W.A.R.P. will include much of the north end of Weirton, the rail yard and scrap yard areas, Brown’s Island and the area of the former basic oxygen plant currently being demolished.

Six highlighted displays of potential building and development layouts on much of the properties, saying while there is a focus on light industrial, plans also include the creation of spaces of commercial operations and residential development.

“We feel it’s going to be necessary to have those two items to support the development,” Six said.

Proposed industrial buildings are sized at between 30,000 square feet and 60,000 square feet, although Six said there have been requests by potential companies for as much as 100,000 square feet.

Brown’s Island, Six said, would feature industrial operations, but also could tap into grant funding if some type of recreational space was established.

Mayor Harold Miller noted discussions for expansion plans from Bidell Gas Compression, and requests for other sites in the community.

While not going into detail, Six confirmed two companies from India and one from Japan have provided information on their needs if they were to locate in the city. Conversations with several other companies also are taking place, he added.

“The fact is, people are looking at the community,” City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo said.

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